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End point

Portadown 1-1 Cliftonville

The run of late goals continued as Cliftonville were denied victory by an 89th minute Portadown equaliser in this evening’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter at Shamrock Park.

Following a sterling effort by the host Club to clear the pitch of snow so that the game could take place, strong winds took a firm grip on proceedings by the time the delayed kick-off came about but, having weathered that particular storm in the first-half, the Reds pulled ahead through Rory Hale’s smart turn and finish.

Some good saves from Ports keeper Jacob Carney – most notably from Ronan Doherty – limited the visitors to just a single strike, although Cliftonville were less than impressed when referee Ross Dunlop waved away strong penalty appeals in the aftermath of a Hale delivery being cut out by Adam McCallum’s arm.

Despite being unable to get the second goal that might have killed Portadown off, the Reds remained relatively comfortable as the clock ticked down, with goalkeeper Aaron McCarey a virtual spectator for long stretches.

With a minute to play, however, the home side bagged themselves a point when  McCallum rose highest to nod Ben Tilney’s corner delivery in and extend a sequence that has seen no fewer than eight goals scored in or beyond the 89th minute of every Cliftonvile fixture in 2021 so far.

Even then, both teams might have gone on to claim victory with Ports sub Stephen Murray halted by a superb last-ditch challenge from Ryan O’Reilly while, at the other end, Chris Curran almost fashioned a route through to goal before Carney dealt with a Daire O’Connor snapshot.

Cliftonville: McCarey, O’Reilly, C Curran, R Curran, Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Hale, Lowe, O’Neill (McCrudden, 84 mins), Coffey (O’Connor, 73 mins). Unused subs: Dunne, Foster, Casey, Kearns, Teggart.